We are in an unprecedented situation in the world, our country, and our communities. At some point when we have done everything we can to situate our families, our professional lives, and our sense of the “new normal,” we can begin to consider how we will find continuity in this shared passion of Danzan Ryu Jujutsu. 

I once had an English Professor who told his students that we should memorize Shakespeare sonnets and passages so that if we were ever trapped in a cave-in we could do mental exercises to pass the time and maintain sanity. I have long forgotten them, but I recently found myself visualizing techniques from memorized lists, as I fell asleep each night for the past several months, preparing for a rank exam. The effect was the same, although I was dealing with the pressure of a pending test, instead of thousands of pounds of dirt and rock.

Now we find ourselves now trying to maintain our jujutsu without being present on a mat or having an Uke. Jujutsu is not just a physical thing we are missing. It is also there to help us maintain our mental and emotional health. Here are some ways to continue your training until this situation resolves:

All of the included links above are simply to show you examples of the many resources that exist. Once you find a concept that resonates with you, run with that and find better resources. Just don’t let this time slip away as you are barred from the dojo! If these types of emergencies teach us anything, it is that time and opportunity are gifts. We can’t waste them.

If you are a sensei, then all of the above applies to you, but you also have a responsibility to engage your students and make sure they are doing everything they can to grow, learn, and engage despite the current isolation.

Here are some recent thoughts from Professor Hilary Kaplowitz:

While jujitsu class might be the last thing on everyone’s minds, it might also be of comfort to your students to have something semi-normal. If you feel up to it you might consider doing something to keep your students’ training going. If nothing else, you as sensei can help your dojo community by providing some comforting words and connecting with your students who might be more affected, need help or isolated. I have a number of students who live alone and I plan to check in regularly with them.

You could send out emails or do a video conference. There are tons of things to do for solo practices (qi gong, kowami, conditioning, stretching, etc). We are setting up daily challenges for us to do to keep our training going. And/or you could turn to the scholar side and do a history review, share some photos or do a bookclub (maybe start with an article from the Kiai Echo). My dojo is doing all these things and we met online on a video conference yesterday. We are also going to do a social group movie night and simultaneously, remotely, watch a martial arts movie.